July 5, 2023


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a trailblazer as “the first person to do something or go somewhere, who shows that it is also possible for other people.”  Marjorie Finger, Serena Merck and Sunny Barlow were truly educational trailblazers. We don’t simply sit back and bask in the glow of history; rather, we serve with reverence those who have gone before by being endlessly ambitious for the future and by ensuring that the young people in our care are provided with the very best opportunity to be successful.

It is that sense of commitment and responsibility which has provided us with the creative energy and resilience necessary to bring us through such momentous challenges. The faith that has been placed in us drives our unshakeable determination to ensure that we emerge from this as an even better school and an even stronger community.  I would like to recognize key people within this community.  To our families, we thank you for making the sacrifices necessary to make this educational experience happen.  To the Maplebrook faculty/staff, none of this would happen without your dedication to the students.  To the Board of Trustees and Maplebrook School Foundation directors, thank you for your service, your loyalty, your leadership and your guidance.

As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, we share our pride in our founders ’ achievements. As a result of their vision, hard work and courage, we are able to gather to celebrate how the class of 2021 exemplifies the mission of Maplebrook as well as how the founders’ hopes and dreams for the school made us who we are today.  Each of these students offers a bright light and they brought something special to our community. Today, emotions have covered a massive range. From sadness about leaving, to optimism about moving on to life’s next stage to curiosity about what life will bring.  One expression in particular strikes me above all else when I think of graduation at Maplebrook:  “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”  All of us who are connected to Maplebrook have been given a great gift. We were born at the right time and in the right place. And, thank goodness fate provided this school built in 1945 in the little town of Amenia, NY.

As the custodian of this community and it is my responsibility to serve each and every member of this school. This is certainly not my school, it is our school and our hopes and dreams lie in every corner of this campus, it is the very beating soul of this community. When we have departed campus today, I hope you will look back on 2021 with a sense of pride and recognize it as a point in our history when the spirit of our community burned with a radiant brightness that transcended adversity and carried out the mission that was born 75 years ago.